In the world of real estate investing, few opportunities ignite the imagination quite like the prospect of a fixer-upper property. The allure of purchasing a run-down, neglected house, and transforming it into a beautiful, profitable asset is a dream that has inspired countless individuals to roll up their sleeves and get to work.

But, as with any investment, there are pitfalls and perils that await the unprepared. The world of fixer-upper investing is a landscape of potential riches and financial ruin, often separated by a thin line of knowledge and strategy.


brown wooden door on gray concrete floor


In this guide, we’ll explore the undeniable pros that make these properties so enticing, the often-overlooked cons that can turn dreams into nightmares, and the essential strategies for ensuring your fixer-upper venture ends in success.

So, whether you're a seasoned investor looking to diversify your portfolio or a first-time buyer seeking an affordable entry into homeownership, fasten your seatbelt. We're about to dive deep into the world of investing in fixer-uppers, where potential and peril often go hand in hand.


brown and white concrete building


Pros of Investing in Fixer-Uppers


1. Cost Savings

One of the biggest advantages of buying a fixer-upper property is the price. There are a lot of cost savings to be had when you buy a home that needs some work done. For many buyers, this is necessary to be able to buy a home in the first place.

Houses are expensive. And home prices usually only tend to go up. This means that for people on a tight budget, buying a fixer-upper property might be the only short-term path to homeownership.

While there are plenty of costs incurred through actually making enhancements to the property, they are not upfront costs. If your budget is tight, you can opt to make the necessary enhancements up front, but wait on other upgrades until there is the financial wiggle room to bring those visions to life. As long as you have a functioning kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom, many other aspects of the home can wait.


2. Customization and Creativity

Another big advantage of fixer-upper properties is that you have much more room for customization and creativity. If you buy a house that isn’t in need of renovation, it can be wasteful to immediately rip up the carpet and knock down walls. However, if the home you buy is already in need of new carpet and paint, there’s no financial harm in starting from scratch!

If you have a creative mind, a fixer-upper property can be your canvas. From creating an open concept to introducing new flooring types and window styles, you can do a lot to a fixer-upper property without destroying its value.

While you could technically do this in any property, you don’t risk harming a fixer-upper’s value. A “nice” house’s value might drop if you start tearing out elements that were incorporated into its purchase price. However, with flip properties, the expectation is that they will be gutted and renovated anew.


black and gray 2-storey house


3. Potential for Higher Returns

ROI, or return on investment, is a common term used when discussing fixer-upper properties. Whether you’re buying the home as a flip or you intend to live in it, the fact is that most families don’t live in the same house forever. One day, you’re likely to sell it.

If you buy a fixer-upper property, its value is already very low. This means that very few pieces of the property actually hold value, and there is very little you can do to diminish its value further. By making upgrades and changes to the home, the value is likely to go way up.

This isn’t just because the upgrades make the home nicer; it is also because the upgrades restore the home’s desirability. Most fixer-uppers are sold below market value simply because no one has a desire to live in them. If you do a good job with renovations, you raise the home’s price because of both the upgrades themselves and the home’s renewed desirability.


white and gray house under white clouds during daytime


Cons of Investing in Fixer-Upper Properties


1. Hidden Costs

One of the biggest drawbacks to buying a fixer-upper property is that costs can add up very quickly. This is especially true if you are not very experienced in the world of fixing up properties. Labor, materials, and time estimates can all wind up being much more than you initially anticipated.

Even if you have significant experience with fixing up homes, there are plenty of ways that hidden costs can appear. Prices of materials can go up, unforeseen structural problems may come to light, and certain regulatory restrictions can come into play. While the home may be cheap to buy, restoring its livability can be a costly endeavor.


2. Time and Effort

Another major drawback to fixer-upper homes is the amount of time that they can truly take to renovate. Many people estimate how long the renovations should take, but these estimations fail to capture the fact that life gets in the way. There are always going to be competing priorities, especially if you work a full-time job, and there’s a very good chance that the project will drag on for longer than anticipated.

For some people, this is fine. But for others, it can be very costly. If the house is already livable and just in need of some love, that’s one thing. But if the house needs major work before it can be occupied, this can lead to extra time living in a rental or in another temporary living situation.


brown wooden 2-storey house during daytime


3. Market Risks

The final major concern with fixer-upper properties is that market conditions can change rapidly. Neighborhoods change, demand for houses fluctuates, and the availability of experts can switch on a dime.

A great example of this is the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Due to government regulations, many contractors were unable to work for months. If you were relying on contractors for any part of your labor, which you likely would, you were forced to wait for months.

On top of that, waiting lists for these services bubbled over due to the months of inactivity. These waiting lists further increased prices, which ultimately delayed the work that was getting done and raised its costs as well.

Similarly, local governments often redraw school district maps. Some school districts raise property values, while others lower property values. If you buy a house and hang your hat on its school district’s ability to buoy its price, a redrawing of the map could be catastrophic.


white and gray 2 storey house


The pros of investing in fixer-uppers are enticing—cost savings, customization opportunities, and the potential for higher returns. Yet, the cons loom large, from hidden costs to the demands on your time and the market risks involved.

To navigate this landscape successfully, you must approach it with careful planning and due diligence. Select your fixer-upper property wisely, budget meticulously, and create a renovation plan that accounts for contingencies. Decide whether you're better off tackling renovations yourself or hiring professionals, and market your property effectively when the time comes to sell.

If you’re looking to buy a home in the Myrtle Beach area, we’re here to help. We at The Boyd Team are committed to helping you find the right property for your needs and dreams. Any question that you have about moving to the area and finding your dream home by the beach is our pleasure to answer. Feel free to send us an email at or text or call us at (843) 222-8566, and we will get back to you as soon as we can. Being true natives of the Grand Strand and Horry County and with over 25 years of experience in the local real estate market, whether buying or selling, we can help you make your dreams a reality.  


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